A scholarly account of the nineteenth-century slave ship rebellion presented from the perspectives of the slaves discusses their fight for freedom within the context of the chain of resistance spanning the earliest slave revolts through the Civil Rights era.
On June 28, 1839, the Spanish slave schooner Amistad set sail from Havana on a routine delivery of human cargo. On a moonless night, after four days at sea, the captive Africans rose up, killed the captain, and seized control of the ship. They attempted to sail to a safe port, but were captured by the U.S. Navy and thrown into jail in Connecticut. Their legal battle for freedom eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, where their cause was argued by former president John Quincy Adams. In a landmark ruling, they were freed and eventually returned to Africa. The rebellion became one of the best-known events in the history of American slavery, celebrated as a triumph of the legal system in films and books, all reflecting the elite perspective of the judges, politicians, and abolitionists involved in the case. In this powerful and highly original account, Marcus Rediker reclaims the rebellion for its true proponents: the African rebels who risked death to stake a claim for freedom. Using newly discovered evidence, Rediker reframes the story to show how a small group of courageous men fought and won an epic battle against Spanish and American slaveholders and their governments. He reaches back to Africa to find the rebels’ roots, narrates their cataclysmic transatlantic journey, and unfolds a prison story of great drama and emotion. Featuring vividly drawn portraits of the Africans, their captors, and their abolitionist allies, he shows how the rebels captured the popular imagination and helped to inspire and build a movement that was part of a grand global struggle between slavery and freedom. The actions aboard the Amistad that July night and in the days and months that followed were pivotal events in American and Atlantic history, but not for the reasons we have always thought. The successful Amistad rebellion changed the very nature of the struggle against slavery. As a handful of self-emancipated Africans steered their own course to freedom, they opened a way for millions to follow. This stunning book honors their achievement.
On 28 June 1839, the Spanish slave schooner La Amistad set sail from Havana to make a routine delivery of human cargo. After four days at sea, on a moonless night, the captive Africans that comprised that cargo escaped from the hold, killed the captain, and seized control of the ship. They attempted to sail to a safe port, but were captured by the US navy and thrown into a Connecticut jail. Their legal battle for freedom eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, where former president John Quincy Adams took up their cause. In a landmark ruling, they were freed and eventually returned to Africa. The rebellion became one of the best-known events in the history of American slavery, celebrated as a triumph of the US legal system in books and films, most famously Steven Spielberg's Amistad. These narratives reflect the elite perspective of the judges, politicians, and abolitionists involved. In this powerful and highly original account, Marcus Rediker reclaims the rebellion for its instigators: the African rebels who risked death to stake a claim for freedom. Using newly discovered evidence, Rediker reaches back to Africa to find the rebels' roots, narrates their cataclysmic transatlantic journey, and unfolds a prison story of great drama and emotive power. Featuring vividly drawn portraits of the Africans, their captors, and their abolitionist allies, The Amistad Rebellion shows how the rebels captured the popular imagination and helped to inspire and build a movement that was part of a grand global struggle for emancipation. The actions of that distant July night and inthe days and months that followed were pivotal events in American and Atlantic history, but not for the reasons we have always thought. The successful Amistad rebellion changed the very nature of the struggle against slavery. As a handful of Africans steered a course to freedom, they opened a way for millions to follow. This stunning book honours their achievement.
Draws on three decades of research to chart the history of slave ships, their crews, and their enslaved passengers, documenting such stories as those of a young kidnapped African whose slavery is witnessed firsthand by a horrified priest from a neighboring tribe responsible for the slave's capture. 30,000 first printing.
Sailors, Pirates, and Motley Crews in the Age of Sail
Author: Marcus Rediker
Publisher: Beacon Press
This maritime history "from below" exposes the history-making power of common sailors, slaves, pirates, and other outlaws at sea in the era of the tall ship. In Outlaws of the Atlantic, award-winning historian Marcus Rediker turns maritime history upside down. He explores the dramatic world of maritime adventure, not from the perspective of admirals, merchants, and nation-states but from the viewpoint of commoners—sailors, slaves, indentured servants, pirates, and other outlaws from the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth century. Bringing together their seafaring experiences for the first time, Outlaws of the Atlantic is an unexpected and compelling peoples’ history of the “age of sail.” With his signature bottom-up approach and insight, Rediker reveals how the “motley”—that is, multiethnic—crews were a driving force behind the American Revolution; that pirates, enslaved Africans, and other outlaws worked together to subvert capitalism; and that, in the era of the tall ship, outlaws challenged authority from below deck. By bringing these marginal seafaring characters into the limelight, Rediker shows how maritime actors have shaped history that many have long regarded as national and landed. And by casting these rebels by sea as cosmopolitan workers of the world, he reminds us that to understand the rise of capitalism, globalization, and the formation of race and class, we must look to the sea. From the Hardcover edition.
The Saga of a Slave Revolt and Its Impact on American Abolition, Law, and Diplomacy
Author: Howard Jones
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Social Science
This volume presents the first full-scale treatment of the only instance in history where African blacks, seized by slave dealers, won their freedom and returned home. Jones describes how, in 1839, Joseph Cinqué led a revolt on the Spanish slave ship, the Amistad, in the Caribbean. The seizure of the ship by an American naval vessel near Montauk, Long Island, the arrest of the Africans in Connecticut, and the Spanish protest against the violation of their property rights created an international controversy. The Amistad affair united Lewis Tappan and other abolitionists who put the "law of nature" on trial in the United States by their refusal to accept a legal system that claimed to dispense justice while permitting artificial distinctions based on race or color. The mutiny resulted in a trial before the U.S. Supreme Court that pitted former President John Quincy Adams against the federal government. Jones vividly recaptures this compelling drama--the most famous slavery case before Dred Scott--that climaxed in the court's ruling to free the captives and allow them to return to Africa.
Forced Migration and the Making of the Modern World
Author: Emma Christopher,Cassandra Pybus,Marcus Rediker
Publisher: Univ of California Press
"Extends the concept of the Middle Passage to encompass the expropriation of people across other maritime and inland routes. No previous book has highlighted the diversity and centrality of middle passages, voluntary and involuntary, to modern global history."--Kenneth Morgan, author of Slavery and the British Empire "This volume extends the now well-established project of 'Atlantic World Studies' beyond its geographic and chronological frames to a genuinely global analysis of labour migration. It is a work of major importance that sparkles with new discoveries and insights."--Rick Halpern, co-editor of Empire and Others: British Encounters with Indigenous Peoples, 1600-1850
Across the centuries, the acts and arts of black heroism have inspired a provocative, experimental, and self-reflexive intellectual, political, and aesthetic tradition. In Characters of Blood, Celeste-Marie Bernier illuminates the ways in which six iconic men and women—Toussaint Louverture, Nathaniel Turner, Sengbe Pieh, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman—challenged the dominant conceptualizations of their histories and played a key role in the construction of an alternative visual and textual archive. While these figures have survived as symbolic touchstones, Bernier contends that scholars have yet to do justice to their complex bodies of work or their multifaceted lives. Adopting a comparative and transatlantic approach to her subjects’ remarkable life stories, the author analyzes a wealth of creative work—from literature, drama, and art to public monuments, religious tracts, and historical narratives—to show how it represents enslaved heroism throughout the United States, Africa, and the Caribbean. In mapping this black diasporic tradition of resistance, Bernier intends not only to reveal the limitations and distortions on record but also to complicate the definitions of black heroism that have been restricted by ideological boundaries between heroic and anti-heroic sites and sights of struggle.
An account of the 1969 Chicago Eight trial during which anti-war activists, Black Panthers, and others were charged with conspiracy for their protests at the 1968 democratic national convention cites the roles played by such celebrity witnesses as Timothy Leary and Norman Mailer, in a volume that combines historical commentary with an abridged transcript of the trial. Original.
The Untold Story of Cuban Slavery, the Monroe Doctrine, and the Making of the United States
Author: Stephen Chambers
Publisher: Verso Books
Category: Social Science
From 1501 to 1867 more than 12.5 million Africans were brought to the Americas in chains, and many millions died as a result of the slave trade. The US constitution set a 20-year time limit on US participation in the trade, and on January 1, 1808, it was abolished. And yet, despite the spread of abolitionism on both sides of the Atlantic, despite numerous laws and treaties passed to curb the slave trade, and despite the dispatch of naval squadrons to patrol the coasts of Africa and the Americas, the slave trade did not end in 1808. Fully 25 percent of all the enslaved Africans to arrive in the Americas were brought after the US ban – 3.2 million people. This breakthrough history, based on years of research into private correspondence; shipping manifests; bills of laden; port, diplomatic, and court records; and periodical literature, makes undeniably clear how decisive illegal slavery was to the making of the United States. US economic development and westward expansion, as well as the growth and wealth of the North, not just the South, was a direct result and driver of illegal slavery. The Monroe Doctrine was created to protect the illegal slave trade. In an engrossing, elegant, enjoyably readable narrative, Stephen M. Chambers not only shows how illegal slavery has been wholly overlooked in histories of the early Republic, he reveals the crucial role the slave trade played in the lives and fortunes of figures like John Quincy Adams and the “generation of 1815,” the post-revolution cohort that shaped US foreign policy. This is a landmark history that will forever revise the way the early Republic and American economic development is seen.
American Maritime Culture in the Age of Revolution
Author: Paul A. Gilje
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Through careful research and colorful accounts, historian Paul A. Gilje discovers what liberty meant to an important group of common men in American society, those who lived and worked on the waterfront and aboard ships. In the process he reveals that the idealized vision of liberty associated with the Founding Fathers had a much more immediate and complex meaning than previously thought. In Liberty on the Waterfront: American Maritime Culture in the Age of Revolution, life aboard warships, merchantmen, and whalers, as well as the interactions of mariners and others on shore, is recreated in absorbing detail. Describing the important contributions of sailors to the resistance movement against Great Britain and their experiences during the Revolutionary War, Gilje demonstrates that, while sailors recognized the ideals of the Revolution, their idea of liberty was far more individual in nature—often expressed through hard drinking and womanizing or joining a ship of their choice. Gilje continues the story into the post-Revolutionary world highlighted by the Quasi War with France, the confrontation with the Barbary Pirates, and the War of 1812.
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the whaling industry in New England sent hundreds of ships and thousands of men to distant seas on voyages lasting up to five years. In Captain Ahab Had a Wife, Lisa Norling taps a rich vein of sources--including women's and men's letters and diaries, shipowners' records, Quaker meeting minutes and other church records, newspapers and magazines, censuses, and city directories--to reconstruct the lives of the "Cape Horn widows" left behind onshore. Norling begins with the emergence of colonial whalefishery on the island of Nantucket and then follows the industry to mainland New Bedford in the nineteenth century, tracking the parallel shift from a patriarchal world to a more ambiguous Victorian culture of domesticity. Through the sea-wives' compelling and often poignant stories, Norling exposes the painful discrepancies between gender ideals and the reality of maritime life and documents the power of gender to shape both economic development and individual experience.
AMISTAD IS THE STORY OF CINQUE, THE ILLEGALLY ENSLAVED SON OF A MENDRE CHIEF WHO LED AN UPRISING FULL OF FURY AND COURAGE. IT IS ALSO THE STORY OF JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, THE FORMER AMERICAN PRESIDENT, WHO RELUCTANTLY HEEDED THE CALL TO JUSTICE AND DEFENDED CINQUE IN A SUPREME COURT TRIAL THAT WOULD ALTER A NATION'S HISTORY. AND IT IS THE STORY OF MEN AND WOMEN SEARCHING TO FIND TRUTH AND TO UPHOLD THE BASIC TENETS OF THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION.
Memory, Slavery, and the Politics of Identity in the United States and Sierra Leone
Author: Iyunolu Folayan Osagie
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
From journalism and lectures to drama, visual art, and the Spielberg film, this study ranges across the varied cultural reactions--in America and Sierra Leone--engendered by the 1839 Amistad slave ship revolt. Iyunolu Folayan Osagie is a native of Sierra Leone, from where the Amistad's cargo of slaves originated. She digs deeply into the Amistad story to show the historical and contemporary relevance of the incident and its subsequent trials. At the same time, she shows how the incident has contributed to the construction of national and cultural identity both in Africa and the African diasporo in America--though in intriguingly different ways. This pioneering work of comparative African and American cultural criticism shows how creative arts have both confirmed and fostered the significance of the Amistad revolt in contemporary racial discourse and in the collective memories of both countries.
Documents the infamous 1927 trial and execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, from the anarchist bombings in Washington, D.C., for which they may have been wrongfully convicted to the fierce public debates that have subsequently occurred as a result of the case.
Race and Corporal Punishment in the Brazilian Navy and the Atlantic World
Author: Zachary R. Morgan
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Legacy of the Lash is a compelling social and cultural history of the Brazilian navy in the decades preceding and immediately following the 1888 abolition of slavery in Brazil. Focusing on non-elite, mostly black enlisted men and the oppressive labor regimes under which they struggled, the book is an examination of the four-day Revolta da Chibata (Revolt of the Lash) of November 1910, during which nearly half of Rio de Janeiro’s enlisted men rebelled against the use of corporal punishment in the navy. These men seized four new, powerful warships, turned their guns on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s capital city, and held its population hostage until the government abolished the use of the lash as a means of military discipline. Although the revolt succeeded, the men involved paid dearly for their actions. This event provides a clear lens through which to examine racial identity, violence, masculinity, citizenship, modernity, and the construction of the Brazilian nation.
This is the first collection of essays on Chartism by leading social historian Dorothy Thompson, whose work radically transformed the way in which Chartism is understood. Reclaiming Chartism as a fully-blown working-class movement, Thompson intertwines her penetrating analyses of class with ground-breaking research uncovering the role played by women in the movement. Throughout her essays, Thompson strikes a delicate balance between down-to-the-ground accounts of local uprisings, snappy portraits of high-profile Chartist figures as well as rank-and-file men and women, and more theoretical, polemical interventions. Of particular historical and political significance is the previously unpublished substantial essay co-authored by Dorothy and Edward Thompson, a superb piece of local historical research by two social historians then on the brink of notable careers. From the Trade Paperback edition.